DIY: An (Actually Wearable) T-Shirt Project

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by Cassy Krueger

I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried a million different DIY projects with old t-shirts and none have come out quite how I’d like. Most of them are now hiding in my closet, much like they were in their former t-shirt life. So when I came across this adorable t-shirt necklace at Refinery 29, I was excited but wary. To add to my concern, I didn’t have any of the hardware they used for their project. I did, however, have a couple old t-shirts begging me to give it a shot—so I improvised.

Keep in mind that, as I’d mentioned, this project involved a lot of improvisation. You’ll have to mess around with lengths and such to get it how you like it and I can’t pro mise it will turn out exactly the way mine did, but that’s the fun of it!

What you’ll need:

  • Hot glue gun
  • Old t-shirt
  • Scissors

Time required: 1-1.5 hours, mostly for tedious work


Step 1:


Cut off the sleeved portion of the shirt. You might want to save it in case you need to use the extra fabric at the end.

Step 2:


Cut the bottom portion of the shirt into 9 strips.  They should be circular shaped at this point.

Step 3:


Then cut each strip once to make them into 9 long strips of fabric.

Step 4:


Braid 3 of the strands together into a simple braid. To keep the tops of these braids together (and all of the others in this tutorial), I tied two of the strands together at the top. At this point, you could do whatever works for you.

Step 5:


Repeat this with the other two sets of three strands. Now you should have three separate braids.

Step 6:


Now braid the three braids together into one big braid. Again, I tied two of the strands together at the top to keep it together.

Step 7:


Here’s where it gets tricky. At this point, the large braid is pretty long—too long for a necklace. So I unbraided each end of my large braid until they were even and retied the braid there. That left a long strand of a single braid (the one I did not use to tie it) left out. In the photo above, the thick braid (double braided) is on the right, the knot I tied with 2 strands of it is in the center, and the single braid is on the left.

The knot you tie here will be visible, so try to make it look nice. Don’t worry about excess material sticking out of it right now—you can cut it off and glue it into place at the end. I tied the strands once on one side of the braid, then turned over the whole braid and tied them once again on the other side. You can do pretty much whatever looks nice for your necklace, as long as you have one single braided strand sticking out to make the necklace “chain.”  Repeat this on both sides of the braid.

Step 8:


Make sure your “chain” ends of the braid are relatively equal in length and then tie them together in the back. It doesn’t have to look pretty immediately since we’ll cover it.  You’ll want to make sure you can fit it over your head, though!  If not, consider unbraiding a little bit further or doing some improvisation of your own!

After you finish tying, just use some spare fabric to cover up the knot. Wrap it around a couple times until you like how it looks and then set it with glue.  Finally, you can cut off any extra fabric and use your glue gun to set the potentially weak spots.


Finished product! This might sound complicated, but it’s really not. It just requires a little creativity.  And since I produced my best (read: most wearable) t-shirt project result ever, I’d say it’s worth it!

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